What Are First-Year Seminars?

The first year of college brings new experiences and new opportunities. Students become part of a campus community and connect with one another, faculty, staff, and campus organizations. They explore their majors and begin to develop the skills that will serve them throughout their studies, in the workplace, and in life. This transition is often facilitated in first-year seminars – 1-credit or 2-credit courses allowing students to explore specific topics or fields, or required by specific majors.

Who Takes First-Year Seminars?

In Fall 2017 alone, over 2,350 UIC students were enrolled in one of 13 first-year seminar courses on campus. Students who are in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS), and who are not in the Honors 101 seminar, most often choose LAS 110 “Success in the City” or DLG 120 “First-Year Dialogue Seminar” when taking a seminar. Students in other colleges at UIC generally are required to take a specific first-year seminar (or two-course sequence), and they will be advised into those courses for the appropriate semester.

What Do I Learn in a First-Year Seminar?

The content and goals vary by course, but the most common elements include:

  • Interaction with other students and the advisors or faculty who teach the course
  • Support in the process of transitioning to college
  • Connection to campus resources
  • Developing foundation skills in inquiry, thinking, writing, and collaboration
  • Opportunities for discussion and reflection, including in regard to values, diversity, and community
  • Exploration of majors, fields, or careers